Posts Tagged ‘Andrew Cuomo’

Monday, August 23, 2010

Chris Morris: Election Update 2010

It’s been too long since I’ve posted on the upcoming primary and general elections, so let’s dive right in.

First off, we’ve got some debates in New York’s 23rd Congressional District. In fact, I’ll be moderating one of them, right here in Saranac Lake.

Matt Doheny and Doug Hoffman will square off in a primary debate at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 7 at the Harrietstown Town Hall in Saranac Lake. It’s being sponsored by the WNBZ news department and the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.

A three-person media panel will ask the questions – that panel features Brian Mann of North Country Public Radio, Peter Crowley of the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, and Matt Bosley of Denton Publications. Panelists will draft questions, and we’re encouraging the public to submit questions, too.

Voters need debates. It offers folks a first-hand look at the candidates, free of canned press statements and air-brushed advertising. That’s why our questions are being kept secret until the night of the debate – we want to see how the candidates react to questions off the cuff (although I’m not implying that we’ll be asking screwball questions).

The Upstate New York Tea Party (UNYTEA) is also sponsoring a debate in Plattsburgh. Speaking of UNYTEA, the group recently reached the 1,000 member milestone.

In other 23rd CD news, I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing both incumbent Congressman Bill Owens and Doheny on North Country Today. You can listen to those interviews here. I’ll be interviewing Hoffman Sept. 2.

One of Hoffman’s major criticisms of Doheny is the Watertown business man’s ties to Wall Street – I had a chance to ask Doheny about those criticisms directly. Here’s what he told me: “I don’t think there are concerns at all,” he said. “Unfortunately, my opponent is sort of grasping at straws.”

“The reality is twofold,” he added. “Number one: I’ve invested my time in turning around troubled companies. And number two: I’ve been related to finance for my entire career, but I’ve never worked with an institution that took a bailout from the feds.”

Doheny says he shouldn’t be criticized for his personal success. “My opponent shouldn’t be critical of someone who has followed their own American dream,” he said. “I’m proud of my success. I’m proud of Mr. Hoffman’s successes. I’m proud that Mr. Owens has found success.”

Meanwhile, Hoffman is espousing the merits of Arizona’s controversial immigration law; you can watch his new ad here.

Casey Sieler of the Times Union picked apart Hoffman’s ad in a blog post at Capitol Confidential.

In New York’s 20th Congressional District, Democratic Representative and incumbent Scott Murphy is hitting the airwaves with some new ads, and challenger Chris Gibson got some help from an influential Republican.

Finally, a quick look at the gubernatorial election, or, “the one that Cuomo is going to win come November.”

Joking aside, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s lead in the polls looks pretty insurmountable at this point. But as I’ve said before, at least we’ve got Carl Paladino to keep things interesting.

In July, the Buffalo businessman introduced Mario Jr. – a campaign volunteer dressed as a duck, assigned to follow Cuomo around to all of his events.

Now, Paladino is rolling out Little Ricky – a volunteer dressed as a giant chicken. And as the name implies, this one’s job is to follow around former Long Island Congressman Rick Lazio.

Yeah, I know, these are just gimmicks and really don’t offer anything to voters looking for a meaningful dialogue – especially since Mario Jr. refused to take any of Jon Alexander’s questions outside a Cuomo campaign event in Saranac Lake (the response from the duck’s handler was, “he doesn’t talk, he’s a freaking duck”).

Paladino’s shtick might be working, however. He’s gaining ground on Lazio.

That’s it for now. I’ve got elections AND football coming up. I love autumn.

By the way, send your questions for the Hoffman/Doheny debate to news@wnbz.com – or pass them along to John Warren here at the Adirondack Almanack and he’ll forward them to me.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Chris Morris: Election 2010 Update

New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and his RV tour zipped through upstate New York last week, and two prominent North Country Republicans announced their support for Watertown businessman Matt Doheny in the race for New York’s 23rd Congressional District seat.

Let’s start with the congressional race. Franklin County Legislator Paul Maroun and Franklin County Republican Committee Chairman Jim Ellis were in Tupper Lake last Wednesday, where both men said they would be supporting Doheny – as opposed to Saranac Lake accountant Doug Hoffman – in September.

Ellis told WNBZ’s Jon Alexander that Hoffman will need to come to terms with both his fundraising numbers and his support among Republicans. Ellis indicated that Hoffman – who narrowly lost to Democratic Congressman Bill Owens last fall – is lagging in both fields.

“If he fails to do either of those things he should pull out,” he said. “He’s failing according to any objective test.”

Maroun, a Republican himself who sought endorsements for the congressional seat earlier this year, was pretty straight forward in his endorsement of Doheny.

“I try real hard to not support a loser. I really go out of my way not to support losers,” Maroun said. “I’m pretty confident that although Mr. Hoffman is a nice man, I think Matt Doheny is going to win this race.”

Reacting to the endorsements, Hoffman’s campaign spokesman – Rob Ryan – told North Country Public Radio’s Brian Mann that Maroun and Ellis were scared.

“They know that Doug Hoffman is ahead by 32 points in a poll and they know that Matt Doheny is going to lose,” he said. “It’s going to be a repeat of last year when the party bosses backed Dede Scozzafava.”

The poll Ryan refers to is an in-house survey funded by Hoffman’s campaign that shows the Conservative and Tea Party backed candidate with a commanding lead ahead of the September GOP primary.

That’s the latest news in the 23rd race; let’s turn to the gubernatorial election.

I have now had the opportunity to personally interview both Democrat Andrew Cuomo (last Friday in Saranac Lake) and Republican Rick Lazio (earlier this spring). My conclusion: they seem an awful lot alike.

For starters, their respective views on the size of government, New York’s legislative houses, ethics reform and the state’s fiscal mess are very similar.

And here’s the kicker: they also sound a lot like what Governor David Paterson has been saying for the last several months.

So here’s my question: does it matter who is living in the Governor’s Mansion?

Without significant reform in the state Senate and Assembly, it seems like our current problems could continue right on into 2011, new governor and all.

I haven’t met Carl Paladino yet, although I hope to. The one thing the Buffalo businessman has brought to the table so far is a little sizzle and pop; without his flair for the dramatic, the race would be a total snooze fest.

Which reminds me: Paladino’s duck – Mario Junior – was standing outside the Saranac Lake Adult Center while Cuomo spoke inside. I wish the duck took questions, alas…

It’s worth noting that North Elba Supervisor Roby Politi was in attendance during Cuomo’s campaign stop. Politi endorsed Cuomo’s candidacy – and if you go by popular belief, that makes another North Country Republican endorsing a Democrat.

I say “popular belief” because no one is quite sure what political party Politi belongs to. As he put it to me, he “votes for the person who is best for the job, regardless of political affiliation.”

Cuomo did refer to Saranac Lake as “Saranac” – a critical mistake in the minds of many locals, as Saranac is a much smaller town about 40 miles downriver from Saranac Lake. My friend Nathan Brown at the Adirondack Daily Enterprise claims that it’s a minor hiccup; I beg to differ.

You could feel the collective groan in the room every time he misspoke.

Anyway, that’s it for now. Back next week with another update.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Chris Morris: Adirondack Election 2010 Update

What do Bill Owens, Matt Doheny and Doug Hoffman have in common?

For starters, they’re all pretty well off.

Last week, a variety of news outlets reported on the personal finances of the three men running for the U.S. House of Representatives in New York’s 23rd Congressional District.

I thought Nathan Brown’s article offered one of the more detailed break-downs of each candidate’s finances.

I’m not sure how much stock voters put in the personal wealth of a candidate, but I’d argue that in this particular instance, it probably won’t make a huge difference – mainly because all three men are doing just fine as far as their checking accounts are concerned.

The last week has been relatively quiet, though, as far as the 23rd is concerned. However, a story penned by my partner in crime at WNBZ – Jon Alexander – did attract quite a bit of attention on the state and national level.

Jon reported that Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava – of absolutely no relation to Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava – is endorsing Congressman Owens. Scozzafava is a Republican; Owens a Democrat.

Both Politico and Capitol Confidential picked up on the endorsement. Some are comparing it to Dede’s endorsement of Owens just days before last fall’s special election – although comparing a prominent statewide Assemblywoman to the supervisor of a small town in Essex County (no offense to Mr. Scozzafava) seems like a stretch.

The fact that the story has received so much attention tells me that the “third party issue” is on the minds of voters and pundits alike, regardless of what the three candidates are saying.

One more note on the 23rd race: Matt Doheny and Doug Hoffman will both officially file election petitions this week. The minimum number of signatures required to appear on the ballot is 1,250 – both candidates will file petitions carrying far more than the minimum.

Turning to the gubernatorial race, we do have another Democrat in the mix. Joel Tyner is a four-term Dutchess County legislator who last week ended a 140-mile walk from Wall Street to Albany.

He began that trek on June 26 at the New York Stock Exchange and ended it in Albany on July 7.

Tyner is scrambling to gather enough petition signatures to challenge Attorney General Andrew Cuomo in a September primary. A spokesman for his campaign says Tyner is alarmed by Cuomo’s “more conservative agenda.”

Tyner objects to Cuomo’s calls for a property tax cap and refusal to support a “millionaires” tax.

In a release issued last week, Tyner joked that he didn’t walk nearly 150 miles for his health.

“The fact of the matter is, I’m not running on a fringe position,” he said. “I’m running on what most people want. If we’re going to do something about taxes, rich people have to pay their fair share.”

He’s calling for an additional tax bracket for income earners making more than $1 million annually. Tyner also wants a partial reimplementation of the stock-transfer tax on Wall Street.

During his so-called “Walking Campaign,” Tyner said Cuomo is abandoning Democratic principles.

Elsewhere, Carl Paladino is meeting with upstate Tea Party activists as he seeks to ruffle Rick Lazio’s feathers.

One last note: 20th Congressional District candidate Chris Gibson raised nearly $500,000 in the second quarter this year.

Gibson, a Republican, is challenging Democratic Congressman Scott Murphy.

Sources indicate that Gibson raised $483,179 through 1,530 donations – 90 percent of which were individual donors. The other 10 percent came from political action committees and other related organizations.

That’s it for now, I’ll be back next week with more.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Adirondack Council Releases 2009 State of the Park Report

The Adirondack Council has released its annual State of the Park Report, what it calls “a comprehensive review of how the actions and decisions of local, state and federal officials have helped or harmed the ecology and beauty of the Adirondack Park over the past year.” Attorney General Andrew Cuomo received high praise; Governor David Paterson received a split rating. Several Adirondack towns also are being praised for efforts to protect the environment. “There was a time when it seemed like environmental organizations only argued with local government officials in the Adirondacks—those days are over,” Adirondack Council Executive Director Brian L. Houseal said in a press release accompanying the report. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

‘State of the Park’ Report Released by Adirondack Council

The Adirondack Council reserved its highest praise for Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and the Department of Environmental Conservation, while offering criticism to the federal government and State Senate in its 23rd Annual “State of the Park” report. The publication tracks the actions of local, state and federal officials who helped or hurt the ecological health or wild beauty of the Adirondack Park over the past 12 months.

A non-partisan environmental research, education and advocacy organization based in the Adirondack Park, the Adirondack Council is funded solely through private donations. It doesn’t accept government grants or taxpayer-funded contributions of any kind. The Council does not endorse candidates for public office. » Continue Reading.